A MARKETHILL woman is preparing to mark the one-year anniversary of the day her family’s life changed forever by hiking to the Mount Everest base camp.
On March 21, 2018 Frances Carlisle’s father Francis suffered a catastrophic injury at work when a large amount of steel fell onto his head from a height. He was knocked unconscious and remained undiscovered for two hours.
With his life hanging in the balance Francis was rushed into emergency surgery at the Royal Victoria Hospital where a significant amount of his skull was removed to release pressure from his brain. His left eye and side of his face were distorted from the impact of the steel and medical staff explained that the then 69 year-old was at high risk of further infection.
Frances, who has been living in Sydney, Australia for over 14 years, flew home to be at her father’s side after receiving a call from her brother with the heartbreaking news.
“I spent 31 days in the ICU with my daddy and a further 10 days in HDU,” said Frances. “I spent every day with my father, I spoke of the good times, the memories we shared and the future we were looking forward to having.
“I was very fortunate to have my close friend live close to the hospital and she supported me in somewhere to stay and with things I needed to do to help my daddy and also my mum.
“My daddy was turning 70 on July 14th 2018. We had planned to travel to the USA together, my daddy dreamt of visiting Nashville Tennessee. We were so excited to share this milestone together.
“I prayed every day for his recovery and watched him make little improvements and changes.”
Francis was moved to Craigavon Area Hospital where he faced a further four months of rehabilitation and ongoing assessments and testing.
However there was to be more devastating news for the Carlisle family when doctors revealed that Francis was not capable of returning home due to the extent of his brain injuries and would need constant support in a care home.
“The six-month period and transition for my father when he was moved to a permanent home has been a real life check-in for me,” said Frances. “The feelings, the pain and suffering for a small family and being the key source of support was something I never would want anyone to suffer.”
Frances credits the Royal Victoria Hospital for saving her father’s life and on March 21 will trek to the Everest base camp in Nepal to raise much-needed funds.
She will take on the mammoth challenge for REVIVE in aid of the Intensive Care Unit and High Dependency Unit at the Royal Victoria Hospital.
Revive supports the work of the Regional Intensive Care Unit and High Dependency Unit in the Royal Victoria Hospital. The money raised by REVIVE is used to purchase equipment, improve facilities and services for patients and their families and support research and development projects
Brain Injury Australia will also benefit from Frances’ expedition. Funds raised will help support others through difficult times, assist in the funding of research and recovery and make a difference to to patients and families.
“I am happy to share my story and want everyone to know how grateful I am that my father has survived such a traumatic accident. My daddy will never be able to share this with you but I know he would support this cause and also do the same, raising awareness and support and always helping people when possible.”
Meanwhile SDLP representative for Cusher, Seamus Livingstone said, "I congratulate Frances on her bravery on taking on such a mammoth challenge.
“It is inspirational to see a young woman in the face of adversity think of other people in need and take on this challenge to raise money and awareness of brain injury. There is no doubt Frances' father would be so proud of his daughter’s efforts and I wish Frances every success in her challenge.
“Thanks and praise goes to the surgeons, consultants, rehab team and nurses at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Musgrave Park Hospital Belfast and Craigavon Area Hospital for the wonderful care and attention Francis received in the long and stressful months after his accident.”
The trek to the Mount Everest base camp takes two weeks to complete and hikers will be forced to endure significantly reduced oxygen levels.
You can support Frances by donating via her Just Giving page. Go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/frances-carlisle1